Mesa school district sued under anti-LGBTQ+ law

Mesa’s school board is getting sued by an extremist board member, with help from Christian nationalist legal firm America First Legal. The suit will test a Ducey-era law suppressing LGBTQ+ expression in schools.

The law requires schools to notify parents if students say they’re questioning their sexual or gender identity. According to the lawsuit, MPS staff allegedly acted on students’ behalf to keep these conversations confidential.

America First Legal’s website expresses devotion to fighting “radical transgender ideology,” “the fake news media,” and liberals' supposed “anti-faith […] anti-American crusade.”

Meanwhile in MPS, a teacher has been forced to quit after receiving harassment driven by conservative media for dressing as the devil during Spirit Week.

Mesa Public Schools board typically meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. 6:30 p.m.at, 549 N. Stapley Drive, Mesa.


Deer Valley caves to racist objections over curriculum

Deer Valley Unified School District Members Jennie Paperman, Kim Fisher, and Paul Carver tanked a proposed English, Language, Arts curriculum explicitly because they didn’t like the idea of anti-racism being taught in English classes.

This curriculum has been available for public review since May, and was widely publicized. Public feedback was 91.7% in the curriculum’s favor.

VP Fisher complained that the first few pages of the curriculum she reviewed mentioned anti-racism, while admitting numerous times she did not review the rest it. (See the 19 minute mark here.)

Member Carver objected to teaching about racial inequality in English classes. (Around 25 minutes in here.)

The district heard from a loud but vocal minority of right-wing constituents about the issue. Member Simacek shared alarm about some of the emails she received, stating that one sender said “there weren’t enough blond-haired, blue-eyed children” represented in this curriculum.

Constituents can email Members Fisher, Carver, and Paperman with opinions of their “no” votes, and thanking members Ordway and Simacek. Ask that the board reconsider the McGraw Hill StudyCore ELA Curricula for grades 6-8.

You can also attend the next board meeting Dec 12th at 6PM at 20402 N. 15th Avenue, Phoenix.


Dysart district eliminates social workers

Dysart Unified School District Board members Chrystal Chaffin, Dawn Densmore, Jennifer Drake passed a measure eliminating all social worker positions in the district. They were met with opposition from Members Christine Pritchard and Jo Grant.

Board members can be contacted here

The next DUSD meeting is December 14th. 6:00 p.m. at the Dysart Education Center, 15802 North Parkview Place in Surprise.

Protecting students' rights to read freely

The proliferation of extremist organizations like Moms for Liberty and other book banners has raised concerns about students’ access to diverse reading materials.

Like adults, students have the right to express their beliefs, read, inquire, and express themselves. Freedom of Speech is meaningless to them, however, if they cannot read about the topics they may wish to speak about. 


National effort to regulate dangerous faux health insurance

The Health Share Transparency Act would protect people from health care sharing ministries, known for leaving Arizonans tens of thousands of dollars in debt due to deceptive practices.

We sent letters to all of Arizona's Representatives urging support for the Health Share Transparency Act.

Join us by finding your own Representative’s contact info here.

2023 UNITY Summit - Dec 5th & 6th

Gaining an understanding of the issues and challenges that we face while equipping our teams to look through an inclusive lens is more important than ever. So ONE Community is offering a free virtual summit on December 5th and 6th.

Sessions will include panels on moving Arizona forward on LGBTQ+ issues, anti-semitism, transphobia, and how to make political change without fueling polarization.

See what’s being offered and register here.



Upcoming School Board Meetings

Volunteer to monitor meetings here.

Cancer fundraiser for school board member

Member Ann Elizabeth Ordway—a reliable voice of reason at Deer Valley Unified School District—has shared that she has cancer and will be undergoing chemotherapy treatment. A constituent in her district has put together a fundraiser to help her with treatment, and if you’re so moved, show this tireless public servant of 14 years your appreciation

Volunteers needed to collect signatures for abortion amendment

Arizona for Abortion Access has launched the petition gathering effort to put abortion on the ballot in 2024. The “Arizona Abortion Access Act” would enshrine the fundamental right to abortion in Arizona’s constitution for generations to come. The amendment is critical to ensure abortion access in the state.

The campaign must collect 383,923 valid signatures from Arizona voters by July 3, 2024 in order to qualify on the ballot. Sign up to be a volunteer here.


Secular AZ
PO Box 47756  | Phoenix, Arizona 85068
6023804810 | info@secularaz.org

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